Texas NORML has compiled a list of bills you need to know about for the 2015 Legislative Session. We advise you to set up an account on My TLO so that you can follow the bill’s progress or sign up for our Texas NORML ENewsletter so that you can get Action Alerts and Legislative Updates. We encourage you to prepare (find resources here and here) to contact your Texas Legislators and ask them to co-author, co-sponsor or support the following bills. Find out more here and here.
HB 507 and SB 1417– Civil Penalties – Authored by Representative Joe Moody (D) and Senator Rodney Ellis (D). This bill would reduce possession of a once or less of marijuana to a $100 fine, removing the criminal penalty and making it a civil penalty. Review the highlights of the bill here. View the current penalties here.
HB 3785 and SB 1839 – Texas Comprehensive Medical Marijuana – Authored by Representative Marisa Marquez (D) and Senator Jose Menendez (D). The bills establish a framework for dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers to provide seriously ill patients with the medicine they need. The qualifying conditions are far broader than other bills, and would include: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and conditions causing wasting, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures or sever muscle spasms. Registered patients (and their caregivers) would be free from fear of arrest and could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. They’d also be permitted to grow up to six plants in their home, three of which could be mature plants estimated to yield four ounces each per year. Read the highlights of the bills here. Read more here.
HB 837 – Affirmative Defense – Authored by Representative Elliot Naishtat (D). This would provide patients and caregivers a defense in court if caught possessing marijuana and would protect doctors from losing their licenses for discussing marijuana. Read more here. And here.
HB 414 – Decriminalize One Once or Less – Authored by Representative Harold Dutton (D). This bill would lower the penalty for possession of one ounce of marijuana from a Class B to a Class C Criminal Misdemeanor. Learn about Criminal Penalties in Texas here. View the current penalties here.
HB 892 & SD 339 – Limited CBD Only Bills – Authored by Representative Stephanie Klick (R) and Senator Kevin Eltife (R). These bills would allow for CBD only medicines to be used for people with intractable epilepsy in extreme cases. Review this information on CBD vs whole plant and Texas NORML’s opinion here.
HB 325 – Decriminalize 0.325 oz or Less – Authored by Representative Gene Wu (D). This bill would lower the penalty for possession of 0.325 oz or less of marijuana from a Class B to a Class C Criminal Misdemeanor. Learn about Criminal Penalties in Texas here. View the current penalties here.
We encourage you to reach out to YOUR Texas State Representative and Texas State Senator and encourage them to Co-Sponsor these bills. Then please contact the Committee Members and request a hearing to be scheduled. Finally, please take a moment to thank each of the courageous legislators!
We also welcome you to come and visit the FIRST Cannabis Education Exhibit put on by Texas NORML and our Coalition, Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, at the Capitol Building from March 16th-20th. Learn more here. There will also be a Patient Lobby Day on March 25th and a Caregiver Lobby Day on March 26th. And see how our Citizen Lobby Day on February 18th went here. And please keep our Lobby Campaign going by becoming a donor here!
Your Texas NORML Team